As part of their ongoing commitment to supporting sustainable healthcare development in Kenya, GE has unveiled a new Skills and Training Institute worth $13 million in Nairobi.

According to a statement issued by GE, the institute builds on the Kenyan Ministry of Health’s on-going $420 million health modernisation programme.

The GE Healthcare Skills and Training Institute will initially offer clinical applications and technical training courses for healthcare professionals, with a commitment to train 10,000 healthcare professionals from across Kenya and East Africa by 2020.

“Demand for quality healthcare is increasing. The GE Training Centre will play a critical role in supporting the capacity development of biomedical engineers, radiologists and technicians, helping to reduce the skills gap, improve job prospects and build a solid national healthcare system,” said Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Health, Dr Cleopa Mailu.

Over the longer term, the facility will be expanded to offer leadership, biomedical and clinical education courses, working with the ministry of health, private healthcare providers and other educational partners.

“The new centre will not only help to ensure that Kenya’s healthcare workforce receives critical training to optimise the full features and benefits of the country’s newest healthcare equipment, in the future, it will support the development of a pipeline of future biomedical engineers, radiologists and technicians,” said President and CEO at GE Healthcare Africa, Farid Fezoua.

“This commitment to healthcare capacity building will help to reduce the country’s skills gap, improve job prospects and build a solid national healthcare system and private healthcare sector,” continued Fezoua.

In February 2015, the Kenyan Ministry of Health and GE signed a contract in response to Kenya’s managed equipment services plan, which includes a four-pillar solution being provided by GE: an adapted technology approach covering wide-scale radiology modernisation with eHealth capabilities; a sustainable service and maintenance programme; a commitment to localised skills development and capacity building; and a structured financing solution that is enabling the Ministry to sustainably fund its long-term healthcare transformation.

An assessment of the impact of government’s radiology modernisation initiative has shown positive early trends with increased system efficiency, reduced patient waiting times and increased throughput and an increase in examination volume post implementation from about 1,500 monthly digital exams to over 28,800 monthly digital exams across the first 44 hospitals.

In addition, the assessment revealed improved workflow efficiency, reporting a preliminary 14% reduction in average scan time from analogue to digital.

+50% improvement in access to radiology services across three pilot hospitals in the first five months’ post installation of the new equipment.

90% of level 5 hospitals have been installed with the latest digital mammography capability, enabling 30% of these facilities to offer in-house mammography exams for the first-time.

“To date, radiology departments at 70 modernised hospitals are delivering services to patients in 42 of the 47 counties. Work is well underway in the remaining 28 hospitals. While data that assesses the long-term impact of the programme will take some time to be compiled and analysed, the early results are positive,” concluded Dr Mailu.

GE Healthcare also signed three new partnerships for skills building in Kenya and East Africa with the Kenya Medical Training College and global partners IntraHealth and Management Sciences for Health.

For more information contact news@eHealthNews.co.za, like us on Facebook or tweet us @eHealthNewsZA.